Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Concert

Cason got to participate in the Sonshine Christmas program this year and I was so excited... and nervous.  I wasn't sure how he would do but they all did great!

I think he really liked being in the spotlight.

When he wasn't waving to us he was doing the motions or watching Shiloh do them.

He even got a chance to be on the big screen. 

I'm already looking forward to the concert next year!  Thanks to Zach for saving seats for a couple of hours so we could be on the second row! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Family Photoshoot

We had family pictures done for the 1st time by our high school neighbor.  He did a great job and I edited them a bit and I really like how they turned out!  He gave me about 300 and here are a few of my favorites.

Any favorites?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Back

I have so much to tell you from Portugal but It's been a whirlwind since I have been home with family Thanksgivings and putting up Christmas decorations and getting caught up with the work I missed.  Whew, I'm still exhausted.  How long is jet lag supposed to last anyways?  I think I should probably stop using that as an excuse.

The picture above is a look at the city Coimbra where we were serving.  It was so incredibly beautiful!

We took our cooking very seriously.

We really did... but sometimes we had a few minutes to relax before the guests arrived.
All utinsils were washed before using.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some of the "imports"

Here are some of the things we have used every day here. The Portuguese make everything from scratch (another reason I like them so much) so they are amazed by box stuffing.

We checked 2 50lb suitcases full of food. Actually, one was 54lbs. So we had to open it up in the airport and pull out 4 lbs. Michelle and I each ended up carrying on a bag of pumpkin bread.

So far everyone has liked the food. Only a few have loved it but they are very polite and eat everything. The kids are hesitant to try it. One thing they have all really liked is the cranberry sauce. No one wants to try it but when they do they love it. Also, sweet potatoes with marshmallows are a big hit. Neither thing is popular here.

Michael and Cristi always take the opportunity to explain about thanksgiving and why we celebrate. They talk about how families take hands to pray (which we do) and then go around the table to say what they are thankful for. That is sometimes harder for them but they all participate.

Cooking for the neighbors tonight so pray for good conversations with them.

Thank you for all your prayers. This trip has gone so smoothly and I know it is because of prayers from you.

More later!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooking in Portugal

We knew when we came that there would be a lot of cooking. 5 full thanksgiving dinners in 5 days. I've never cooked 1 full thanksgiving dinner much less 5. The cooking has gone easier than I originally anticipated... Cooking almost everything from a box makes that possible I guess. It is still long days of standing on your feet and lots of cleaning up messes.

One thing we did make from scratch is the pumpkin pie. Here's Michelle trying to fit 2 in a tiny European oven.

You can see a few of our meal items here.

I'll take more pictures when we start really cooking in an hour!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 18, 2011

Portugal- The First Few Days

First of all- forgive me, I am typing on a Portuguese keyboard and it´s a little different.

Tuesday morning we arrived at DFW at 8:30 in the morning and took off for Miami, a 3 hour layover then a long flight to Madrid, another 3 hour layover and off to Porto.  Cristi met us in Porto with our 5- 50 pound bags and we headed to the mall for lunch.  The food court was really cool and offered us a lot of options ( including McDonalds) but I had some crepes.  Yummy!

We looked around a bit and headed to Coimbra to their apartment.  It's wonderful and modern and the perfect place to entertain.  After lugging the suitcases in we headed out for dinner.... at McDonalds (I can't escape it!).  After dinner we came home and pretty much crashed.  Exhausted after being in an airport or in the air for 24 hours.

Thursday morning we got up and headed to breakfast at a cafe inside the grocery store.  We proceeded to grocery shop for the next few hours for a weeks worth of Thanksgiving dinners.  3 grocery stores later we got back to the house and made sandwiches and started cooking.

The pies were first- 2 pumpkin and 2 pecan.  Then we headed to Calvin's elementary school to read them a story in English and share some pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies.  They were totally precious pre-schoolers and we loved watching them interact with each other and speak in Portuguese.

When we were done there we headed home to do the rest of the cooking- green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, pumpkin soup, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing- and I'm sure there was more.  LOTS of cooking, cleaning, arranging, etc.

At 7:30 or 8 the students from the local University start arriving.  Michael and Cristi meet with them twice a week to help them practice English so this night was all mostly in english.  15 students came and that was a BIG group.  Luckily we had doubled some of our recipes.  I could go on and on about how much fun they were.  I think we counted 5 different countries represented and we loved teaching them about thanksgiving food, helping them with English words, playing cards, learning more about their lives and telling them more about ours.

I will have to wait to post pictures until I get home and unload them from my camera but we got a lot.  When we sat down to dinner the first thing they wanted to do was pray.  They have seen so much American TV and movies where people pray before their Thanksgiving meal they were excited to participate in the tradition.  We also took the opportunity to go around the room and talk about what we are thankful for.

They were absolutely precious and we were so blessed to meet them last night.

Today we toured the city this morning and after another grocery run we started cooking.  It's time for me to go help Michelle put the finishing touches on dinner before our guests arrive in 1 hour.

More pictures later!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Practicing Thanksgiving... For Portugal

A month ago (or so) we had a "practice" Thanksgiving dinner for our Portugal trip.  We have to take a lot of the food with us and many of the items are going to come from a box or a can.

My first thing to practice was pie crust.  I have only used frozen pie crusts but I figured the box wouldn't be too hard.

Apparently I need to practice a bit more because it was hard.  Easy to mix- hard to roll out and get in the pan and get even.  Mine is not very pretty.  Tasted good, but wasn't pretty.

This is the pumpkin pie.  It doesn't look great either.  I used the sweetened condensed milk recipe and I couldn't get it smooth.  I'm going to try the condensed milk recipe in Portugal.

I also tried to make cranberry sauce using dried cranberries.  Dried cranberries are lighter than cranberry sauce. 
First you soak in apple juice.
Then cook it down with some orange zest and sugar.  At the end you add cornstarch.  I wasn't using a great recipe and it just tasted like cornstarch.  Fail.

For the sweet potatoes we had two options.  There are boxed sweet potatoes and canned.  Did you know there were canned?  I didn't.  I made the boxed and put them in a casserole dish and topped with marshmallows.  The canned I mashed and stirred in some brown sugar and orange juice and topped with oatmeal and brown sugar.  I liked the canned better but cans are heavier and most of the others liked the boxed so that's what we are taking.

Also on the menu green bean casserole and stove top stuffing.
We also had some cute kids to entertain us.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gifts from Portugal

When Mike came home he brought us a few gifts.

Cason's favorite was a soccer jersey.  Apparently soccer if very big there and Cason loves soccer too!
I couldn't get him to stand still.  This is him playing soccer.

So Cason doesn't usually play games at breakfast but he calls the game boy his "boy game" and it's so cute.  Besides the battery doesn't work and he thinks it's a field journal just like Diego.  It actually looks like Diego's field journal.
Beside the field journal is toast spread with pumpkin jam from Portugal.  It's really yummy.  Funny, they don't have canned pumpkin in Portugal but they do have pumpkin jelly!

Mike also went to a pottery place that had many beautiful things.  Mike worked hard to find something that I would like because most everything was very traditional.  I think he did a great job with these two pieces.

Here's the best part.  The bowls were 4 Euros each.  That's like $6.  Apparently they sell the traditional pottery at Williams Sonoma and it's not $6.

Two Weeks Till Porgugal!

So the countdown has begun.  Well, sort of.  I didn't realize until today that we only had 2 weeks and now, I feel like there's a lot to do.  Here are a few shots of Portugal from Mike's trip:

Number one on the list is collecting food.  Michelle and I organized the meals we think we are cooking and figured out how many of each ingredient we will need and in what country we need to buy that ingredient.  Then we passed out the list and are asking people to donate what they can.  We are accepting grocery gift cards as well because I'm sure there will be a few last minute items.

Here's our list:
Bag Chocolate Cookie Mix 5 bags

Box Mashed Sweet Potatoes 4 boxes

Box Pie Crust 4 boxes

Box Stove Top Stuffing 3 boxes

Can Crushed Pineapple 2 cans

Canned Pumpkin 9 cans

Canned Cranberry Sauce 6 cans

Cherry Pie Filling 2 cans

Crackers (Wheat Thins) 2 boxes

Crasins (4/3 cup in 1 bag) 10 bags

Dream Whip Package 7 pkg

Evaporated Milk 11 cans

French Fried Onions 1 container

Gravy Packets 5 packet

Kraft Homestyle Macaroni 2 boxes

Large Marshmallows 2 bags

Pecan Pie Mix 2 boxes

Pickle Relish 1 jar

Ranch Dressing 1 jar

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce 1 jar

Seasoned Stewed Tomatoes - Italian Seasoning 2 cans

Turkey Oven Bags 2 boxes

Vanilla - Large Jar 1 jar

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Bread Mix 2 boxes

Williams Sonoma Turkey Rub 2 packet

Yellow Cake Mix 2 boxes

If you see anything that you want to grab and drop off at the church then please do! 
As far as prayer requests right now just pray that God begins to work in the hearts of the Portuguese people and that they will be open to coming to the dinners we will be hosting. 
I'm so excited about this trip and I thank the people who are helping make it possible.  I heard a song on the radio this morning about going through the motions and it reminded me that I don't want to just go through the motions on this trip- I want to give it my everything and make sure that I'm giving it my all every day I'm there. 
More to Come!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dad's Home!

Friday night Cason and I went to pick up Mike from the airport.  He was returning from a mission trip to Portugal and had been gone for 10 days!  You can check my brothers blog for some additional information about their trip. 

We went to the airport early so we could people watch but there were really no people where we were waiting.

Cason played his "boy game" while we waited.

Yep, see- empty.


Cason called to make some dinner reservations for us.

Then waited patiently so he could grab the luggage.

And of course he helped get the suitcase to the car.  Such a great helper.  Especially since it was over an hour past bedtime!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Portugal for Thanksgiving

It's official!  Michelle Langley and I will be heading to Portugal the week before Thanksgiving to help our friends and missionaries there the Gereckes

The plane tickets are purchased and we will be taking off November 15th for a week of cooking and serving Thanksgiving dinners to groups that the Gereckes have been ministering to. 

I'm excited... and nervous.... and overwhelmed... and ready... and soooo not ready. 

There seems to be a lot to do- trying to plan recipes and figure out what ingredients are in Portugal and what ingredients we need to take with us... and how we are going to take them with us and how much money we need to buy groceries there and how much money we need to buy groceries here and how am I going to survive a VERY long trip there and a slightly shorter trip back.

Not to mention I have never left Cason for more than 2 nights and I really will miss him terribly.  I mean sooooo much.

I wrote HERE a little more about how I felt led to go on this trip, and that has not changed.  If anything, God has continued to confirm that I am doing the right thing. 

Right now prayer support is what we need:

- Pray for the people of Portugal- that God would begin to soften their hearts for the team that goes in October (including my husband and brother) and continued to work in their hearts for the November trip as well.

- That Michelle and I would be able to organize the food, recipes and grocery lists before the trip.

- For peace as Michelle and I prepare to leave our families for a week.  That childcare for our 2 year olds would be easy to find and we can leave without any worries for our family.

- For the Gereckes- they have a lot of prep work for the October and November teams and they could use some supernatural help on that. 

- That the Lord will provide the funds- Michelle and I have begun the fundraising process and we are trusting  that the Lord will provide what we need.

If the Lord is leading you to support this trip, there are several ways you can do that.  We need money- to help pay for trip expenses as well as groceries in Portugal.  In the coming weeks I will also be telling you about the grocery needs that we will have.  We will be taking lots of food with us and we will need donations to help with that as well.

If you would like to help with the money- you can send a check to:
First Baptist Church Colleyville- Attn. Dale Molden
5405 Pleasant Run
Colleyville, TX 76102
Please put "Portugal November Trip" in the memo line.

Thank you so much and stay tuned for updates.  We had a "practice" cooking night and I have lots of insight to share!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Snapshots of our day

Going for a walk...

Trying on shoes...

And a chocolate milk with "my lolli"

What a great day!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Big News

I pretty much only titled it that because I wanted to see if anyone would think I was announcing a pregnancy or something.  I'm not- I just have something exciting I want to share.

On November 15th I will be leaving for Portugal for a week long mission trip.  I'm so excited about the opportunity and what we will be doing there. 

Let me tell you how it all started... if only I knew.  I was involved with a Bible study called One on One.  It's a wonderful study and God started showing me how to have a heart for the world.  It's easy to focus on what is going on directly around you and forget that there's a big world out there. 

So I began to pray about how I could have a world focus- for God to show me what my place was in the world and how I could be used to bring glory to His kingdom.

Michael and Cristi used to go to our church and are currently missionaries in Portugal.  I found out they wanted a team to come over in November to cook Thanksgiving dinners for the families and college students they are ministering to.  The people in Portugal don't celebrate Thanksgiving but due to American television, they are very curious about it. 

Well, God spoke to my heart about the trip and I started trying to work out a way to go- including finding a team to go with me.  For several weeks God continued to bring up Acts 1:8 -

"but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” 

I continued to feel led to go on the trip yet still needed someone else to go.  I asked some friends to join me in praying for someone else to feel led to go.

Well, it took less than a week and God brought another person for the trip- and not just any person- a wonderful friend- Michelle Langley.

So began a week of planning, asking questions, and wondering if we were crazy to leave our 2 year olds across the world for a week. 

I can't wait to give you more details over the next few months about the trip, the people of Portugal and how cooking Thanksgiving dinner will be a ministry opportunity there. 

A couple of fun things-

- There isn't a lot of American food in portugal including (but not limited to) sweet potatoes, marshmallows, cranberries, canned pumpkin, pie crust.... I could go on.  We will have to carry all of those things over with us.  Thanksfully- they do have Turkey!

- We will be staying in Coimbra.

It's where the "A" is on the map. 

- As you can imagine.  Getting there does cost money.  I am asking people to pray about supporting me in my journey.  More on that later.  We will also need lots of food to go with us plus we will be buying what we can when we get there.  Don't worry, lots of menus and ingredient lists and substitutions coming soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vacation- Part 2. Houston!

So after our night in Salado we headed to Houston to visit our friends Jay and Julie.  They live in Sugarland and promised to show us all the cool stuff.

One night we went to a french restaurant- Aria.  It was delicious!

Here are Jay and Julie.  Aren't they cute!

They have a son Cason's age.  They love to play together. 

We also went to the Childrens Museum.  The one in Houston is AWESOME.  It's less expensive than the one in Fort Worth and way bigger.  The kids loved it and they were exhausted when we left.  Two signs of a good day.

This is a pic of us driving to Houston.  It should be at the beginning of the blog but it isn't. 
He is holding a mini boogie board we found at Target.  He calls it his skateboard and loves throwing on the ground and standing on it.

Here are the boys playing at a mexican restaurant.  They were so silly. 

Soon I will post pictures from my high tea.  You don't want to miss those!
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